Arboretum

The Arboretum is full of interesting and unusual trees and shrubs. Designed by ‘Capability’ Brown in 1762, it retains much of his original vision.

On 30 May 1765 Lady Shelburne’s diary noted, “…Mr Browne’s plantations are very young but promising”. Brown supplied the “forest trees”, with Lord Shelburne sourcing “curious seeds and trees”. These included cedar of Lebanon, one of Brown’s signature trees, several of which can still be seen at Bowood, including the largest cedar in Europe!

An extensive range of trees that continue to be added to can be explored in the Arboretum. There are over 700 species and 23 Champion trees. The nearby Pinetum was first laid out in 1849. Here the trees were planted in a geographical pattern according to their country of origin. Meandering through the trees leading down to the charming Doric Temple overlooking the lake makes for a pleasant walk.

Towards the end of the eighteenth century, following the advice of the Hon. Charles Hamilton of Painshill, a ‘picturesque’ rock landscape, with a cascade, grottoes and a hermit’s cave, was constructed below Brown’s dam at the head of the lake.

OVER 700 SPECIES OF TREES

Bowood’s arboretum features 700 different species among which are 23 ‘champion’ trees – the largest or tallest of their kind recorded in Britain and Ireland. The Pinetum dates back to the 1840s and its layout is inspired geographically with various species placed according to the longitude and latitude of their natural habitat.

Within the 100 acres of Pleasure Grounds that are open to the public, the ‘Capability’ Brown parkland – with its defining encircling belts of trees, punctuating arboreal clumps and towering ‘Cedar of Lebanon’ trees – will once again be a sight to behold as it becomes bathed in its autumn hues.

A star turn to spot within the Pleasure Grounds this autumn is the bright crimson Red Maple, while the River Birch features a shimmering yellow leaf. There is also the Paper-bark Birch with its white bark that peels in wide sheets. Also, revealing themselves among the burnished yellows, oranges and golds are the nut-producing Shagbark and Big Shellbark Hickories.

PLANTING ONE MILLION TREES AT BOWOOD

Tree planting at Bowood is a tradition that has continued with every generation of the Lansdowne family – over one million trees have been planted in the past 40 years alone. Since taking over the running of Bowood in 1972, the 9th Marquis of Lansdowne has gone on to add at least 360 surviving specimens to the collection and has masterminded what has probably been the most exciting period of arboriculture in the Estate’s history. As a boy in 1951, the first tree planted by the current Marquis was an English Oak.

The Estate’s Forestry Department undertakes an annual planting scheme across 750 acres of woodland, including a 300-acre private conservation area which is specifically maintained to support wildlife. In the past year alone, Bowood’s two full-time foresters have planted in excess of 3,000 trees. Homegrown oak is used for property repairs on the Estate, while Bowood Hotel’s biomass boiler – utilising 500 tonnes of woodchip a year – is entirely supplied with timber grown on the Estate.

 

Garden Tours

Whether you’re a tour operator, special interest group or planning to visit with friends and family, we have a variety of garden tours and packages at Bowood House & Gardens to suit all interests.

A guided tour of the enchanting landscape awaits you, with a flowing mix of plantations and sweeping lawns leading down to a mile long lake. Behind the Georgian house through a secret door is Lord and Lady Lansdowne’s Private Walled Garden. Offering guided tours of the four distinct one-acre square garden’s comprising of formal borders, a picking garden, glass houses and a working kitchen garden.

Groups can enjoy a beautiful day visiting Lord and Lady Lansdowne’s family home, surrounded by acres of ‘Capability’ Brown landscape and stunning gardens. With the option for groups to enjoy at their own leisure or to book a guided tour.

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Enjoy an exclusive guided tour of the Marquis and Marchioness of Lansdowne’s Private Walled Gardens, surrounding Bowood House.

We offer the opportunity for guests to book onto our monthly guided tours dates. For groups of 12 or more, a tour can be organised on a weekday of your choice with discounted rates. For more information please email houseandgardens@bowood.org or telephone 01249 812 102.

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Wiltshire’s Bowood House & Gardens is set within 2,000 acres of Grade I listed ‘Capability’ Brown parkland, making it the perfect location for outdoor learning and adventures. With school groups in mind, Bowood has devised a selection of specially-themed tours that will capture the imagination of Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 pupils.

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You may wish to book a group of 12 guests or more on to a special ‘Capability’ Brown themed garden tour. The Bowood landscape has an exceptionally interesting history which will be revealed in this special tour.

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